Report: Washington shopping defenseman Hamrlik

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RDS hockey reporter Renaud P. Lavoie reports the Washington Capitals are shopping veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik.

Hamrlik, 37, has appeared in 55 games for the Caps this season (2G-8A-10PTS) but has fallen in and out of favor with head coach Dale Hunter. Back in December, Hunter made Hamrlik a healthy scratch for the first time this season, and he’ll once again be a healthy scratch tonight against Ottawa.

“You want him to be a defensive defenseman. He’s giving up too many chances, so he’s out of the lineup,” Hunter told the Washington Times. “Giving up too many scoring chances; he took a bad penalty last game. So we’re going to put someone else in.”

Few thoughts on this:

— Shopping Hamrlik isn’t necessarily a sign that GM George McPhee has gone into seller mode. The return of Mike Green has left the Caps with seven healthy defensemen (Green, Hamrlik, Dennis Wideman, John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Jeff Schultz and Dmitri Orlov), so there’s flexibility in terms of shipping one guy out.

— Lavoie notes the asking price “is high right now.”

— Hamrlik is in the first of a two-year deal that pays $3.5 million annually and according to Capgeek, he doesn’t have a no-trade clause. That said, Hamrlik’s agent has stated his client has not asked for a trade.

— Given current market value for veteran defensemen, Hamrlik could reap big returns. Don’t forget that Hal Gill (who, in terms of age, experience, stature and foot speed is quite similar) netted Montreal a second-round pick and a pair of prospects.

— Hamrlik has almost 100 games of playoff experience and, like Gill, was a big reason why the Habs made it to the Eastern Conference finals two years ago. He had nine points in 19 games while averaging over 20 minutes a night.

Should note that Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted the Blues could have interest and have been scouting Capitals games recently.